Trying to reel in a goliath grouper from a kayak can be dangerous, even for an experienced angler like Captain Jonathan Black. A grouper’s unpredictable tantrums can easily overturn a kayak, knock an angler into the water, or, in Black’s case, snap a rod with one powerful twist.
“I thought he was going to kill me!” Black said in a video of the catch. “He destroyed the rod! Toasted!”
You can see video of the catch below:
Black, the owner of Crazy Lure Bait & Tackle Shop in Florida, caught the massive fish near Sanibel with the help of Captain Ben Chancey on May 20. The grouper was measured at 83 inches long and 73 inches in girth, which, according to the anglers, would put the fish around the 550-pound mark. At that weight, the massive fish enters potential world record territory.
For comparison, the International Game Fish Association recognizes a 680-pound goliath grouper as the largest ever caught on rod and reel. However, since there is no consensus on how much the largest grouper caught on a kayak weighed, Black and his team suspected that it may be a record. That is something that they may never find out, since the harvest of goliath groupers has been prohibited since 1990.
“What a freaking beast, look at this monster!” Black crowed triumphantly as he joined the fish in the water. “Look at the size of this thing! Biggest goliath I think I’ve ever caught and caught out of a kayak.”
The fish was kept in the water for a few quick photos and was released safely. Goliath groupers should never be brought out of the water since their skeletal structure cannot support their weight in a non-fluid environment. Despite their size, goliath groupers are surprisingly agile predators, and think nothing of stealing a quick meal from anglers. True to their name, goliath groupers can grow up to 800 pounds and will often reach over eight feet in length. A large adult grouper has few predators beyond the largest of sharks, and they will often snack on smaller sharks such as black tips.